Afterthoughts

by Rick Diamond

This past Sunday we talked about Jesus wanting his people not to worry. The passage from Jesus' Mountain Sermon goes like this:

"If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds. Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving."

I love how this passage is translated in The Message. That word "fuss" -- it's sometimes translated as "worry," but I like "fuss." Jesus says for us to stop fussing. For Jesus, there are two ways to live: with anxiety, worry, fear, control -- fussing -- or with trust, being in each moment for itself, courage, letting go.

I hate that! It terrifies me! I have been raised in a culture of scarcity, in which we're taught that we can never be enough. But God doesn't see us that way... which makes no sense to me, because I'm so afraid of judgment and disapproval. And the power of judgment and disapproval? Nobody else has that over me. I am the one with that power -- to judge and disapprove of myself.

What if, as Jesus says, I focus my life on a deep sense that God cares about me and loves me even as much as God cares about and loves grass, flowers, birds. I know, I know, you're in trouble; your life is hard; things don't always go your way. Well, birds have to work to survive, and they pay attention to predators and the cold -- but they're not worried. They live in this moment. When it's time to hunt for food, they do; when it's time to sleep, they sleep. Things don't always turn out so great for birds. But you don't see them buying more stuff to feel better about themselves.

Can it be possible to live like that? Jesus says so. And we follow him. He's the boss. He's the teacher. He knows.

I'm listening.

Listen to the Service

Today's Program

Gathering Our Spirit to God’s Spirit 

The yarn extravaganza continues. There will be 4 communion stations per normal, and hundreds of individual (one for every Journeyer) strands of yarn (6” long or so) hanging from the web all over the room (to use during communion)

  • “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin plays 
  • A Journeyer steps up to light the lamp and another rings the bell
  • David welcomes folks and has us breathe… introduces our Lenten series

Worshiping with Our Children

  • Karen leads our children in talking about how we can usually tell when our parents or teachers are worried about something: they are sometimes impatient, or short tempered, or preoccupied. Worry is something that can make us tired and sick just like the flu or the measles. To worry less we have to trust more.
  • David mentions to the community (while the children are still gathered) the plan for the new playground for our children, and how our community can pitch in to help purchase it

From Our Spirit to God’s Spirit

  • Leslie makes announcements
  • Dave Madden leads the community in singing the first verse and chorus of “Great is Thy Faithfulness”
  • A Journeyer reads Matthew 6:25-26
  • A Journeyer tells a Journey “Be anxious for nothing" story
  • Dave Madden leads the community in the chorus of “Great is Thy Faithfulness”
  • A Journeyer reads Matthew 6:27-30
  • A Journeyer tells a Journey  “Be anxious for nothing" story
  • Dave Madden leads the community in singing the first verse and chorus of “Great is Thy Faithfulness”
  • Dave Madden sings “In God We Trust” by Derek Webb (words on the screen) and leads an offertory prayer

Giving -- To Help God Do God’s Work in This World  

  • Dave Madden sings his heretofore untitled “no worry” song as the ushers pass and collect the offering baskets and bring them to the cross

Telling The Story and Our Story

Remembering by Sharing Communion as Community

  • Rick officiates the elements as the communion team members serve at 4 stations.
  • He also instructs people to pull down a loose piece of yarn hanging from the web and take it with them to the communion station where a third member of the serving team will tie it around one of their fingers as a reminder this week to be active in remembering God’s love for us, that he can be trusted to care for us in all circumstances, and to remember our intention to be “anxious for nothing”

We Go Out to Serve with Mercy and Grace

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